It should be getting better

but currently it is not. The pain is still there. Still not letting me sleep comfortably all night. Which is making me tired. Which is making me not want to do anything during the day. Which isn't helping me sleep at night. See the pattern?

There is a lot of frustration right now. A lot. I'm also crying. A lot.

And can we discuss how I just got my period which means cramps and bloating on top of the stomach pain, swelling and uncomfortable feelings from surgery.

Can we add my typical period crazy feelings to the frustration too?

Holy whine fest huh?

Yeah, I try not to be this person. SO...

On an better note - I had a great time going out for my friend Kandice's birthday on Tuesday night! We went to Mitsuru and had sushi. I do love sushi!

And last night Josh and I snuggled on the couch for a little while.

Tonight Josh and I will be going on a date to TARGET to pick up more pain meds.


*hugs and kisses*


I once had a pretend brain tumor

I wasn't pretending it was a brain tumor. IT was pretending it was a brain tumor.

Way back during my first surgery blogging I mentioned this crazy phenomenon. When I was asked by the nurse if I was allergic to anything I mentioned tetracycline which is a common drug prescribed for acne. You can read the rest of that story if you follow the link (it's blissfully short and is the fourth paragraph under the first photo of me).

Both subsequent times I've had surgery I am also asked about drug allergies and both times I have told them about the tetracycline. Why this popped into my head today to discuss I don't really know. I mean I was looking at possibly side effects of long term Vicodin use (I know I've only been on it for like 4.5 days - I'm paranoid okay?) and then for some reason I threw tetracycline into the search engine.
(click HERE for more information)

Nothing came up. Hmmm. I mean well stuff came up (headache, nausea, vomiting, etc) but nothing about severe debilitating headaches that were associated with tumor like symptoms.

Although, if you type in pseudo tumor cerebri and read anything involving causes, tetracycline is listed. Interesting again. I suppose it is because it causes such a SMALL number of cases they don't want to freak anyone out, but let me tell you who was freaked out when no one knew what was going on - ME!

When I was 14 I had really bad acne. Actually I had it at 12 and 13 too, but 14 was when I made up my mind to DO something about it. After lots of creams, treatments, etc I was put tetracycline to try to dial down the massive large red breakouts all over my face.

Now my EXACT details on this whole escapade are fuzzy. It was almost 14 years ago and I was an overly dramatic, hormonal 14 year old. Suffice to say I started the tetracycline. My acne started clearing up. I also started getting debilitating migraines to the point I was super light sensitive and throwing up. This was attributed to "hormones" and "growing" and "girl problems." Then one day I passed out in gym class while running the track. And I mean face first plant directly into the cinders with no hands out to catch me.

It looked like I had acne all over again! Ha! Ok, I shouldn't joke, but what else is there to say? I looked a mess. Saw my doctor again. More "hormones, growing, stress, etc." and I was sent on my way.

Then that winter I was walking home from school. I lived 1/2 block from the high school, so not far at all. I did however, in that 1/2 block distance, have to cross the one "major" street in my hometown (yes, there was only one, MAYBE two major streets). I was midway across that street when I collapsed. I have no memory of feeling weak. Just walking and then someone carrying me home (a school friend who saw it happen).

The speed limit wasn't high, but had I passed out in front a car, it still could have run me over. Ugh. Bad thoughts.

That was when the neurologist got involved. Several MRI's, tests and scans and low and behold they found my pretend tumor! I had a large increase of fluid that was pushing on my brain just like a tumor would.

I was told to stop all medications I was taking and present a list to my doctors. List was presented, medications were stopped and miraculously the REALLY bad headaches and the passing out stopped (temporarily).

After about 4 months I was called back to the doctor's office to get my official diagnosis. I had an allergic reaction to the tetracycline that cause a pseudo tumor cerebri. It is most common in women of child bearing age and even more common in obese women. Now I fit the first criteria, but at that point in my life, I was still really skinny. This issue causes problems in less than 1% of the population and the fact that stopping the tetracycline cured the swelling in my brain I was officially diagnosed and told to NEVER take it AGAIN.

Apparently the less than 1% diagnosis still prevents LOTS of medical professionals from knowing about it, which makes sense to me. Could you imagine having to know EVERY potential issue with EVERY potential person?? It's why we have the internet people!!

So that is my fun story for today. It only took me almost a year to explain it. Lol.

However it doesn't explain why I wrote that my last post was #150 when really I only have #148 (well this one will make #149) published. I'm sneaking this in HERE way down at the bottom because I feel dumb. I didn't realize I had two unfinished posts lurking around that I gave up on. Oops. My bad. Ignore my mistake. I'll make up for it with MORE POSTS!!

Check back later this week for some Q&A from emails I've gotten (and I will respond to those emails shortly as well - I promise!!), and maybe another discussion on my weirdness including my predisposition to passing out and WHY am I allergic to the alternatives to things?

Always a fun time around here!!

*hugs and kisses*


Post #150 has graphic photos

Seriously. Graphic. As in they are photos of the inside of my body. I know the inside of my body is pretty gross. I have seen photos before. I got a 4 set during my last surgery. I don't think I posted them. Maybe I did. I don't see them though. Hmmmm... Oh well.

Honestly they look a lot like these photos. Honestly I don't really know what I am looking at. You probably don't either. Unless you are a medical professional and then - why are you reading my blog? I'm really not that interesting!

So there are only 8 photos below. There should be 12, but my every amazing husband apparently scanned the same set twice and missed one set. Oops. Maybe when he goes back in to scan set 3, I'll see if he can scan in the set from last year since they are SO different. Lol.

On to the photos. Now these aren't ultra sound or anything fancy like that. They are literally photos taken with a small camera that was placed inside my abdomen so that the people performing my surgery could see what they were doing without flaying my stomach open.

The photos were scanned in, emailed, and then cropped so the picture quality is probably not great. Sorry.

The only really cool thing I can see is that the two right bottom photos and the one left bottom photo is the AlloMax that was attached to my diaphragm. That is the human tissue that can't be rejected, can't degrade, and has to hold up or we'll be going through surgery again.

Please send your positive thoughts to that gross looking piece of soggy thick paper towel thing.

Josh had scanned these photos yesterday and sent them to me last night. He sent them while watching Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. Now Mike Rowe is an amazing guy who I swoon over every time he comes on TV. Maybe I'll talk about him another time.

The particular Dirty Jobs episode was Season 5, Episode 21. It was titled Fireworks Technician. There was an offshoot segment about a cow that has a hole in it's side that they fish inside of to study cow digestion. I couldn't watch. I felt like that cow. At least my holes got closed up. This cow has people digging in its guts daily. Sorry cow. :-(

And speaking of closing of holes - that will be a nice transition for the final segment of today's blog post.

I had 5 incisions last surgery. I had no stitches to close them up, just some steri strips and about a weeks worth of healing time and they were fine.

Dr. Prats used the same incision sites as last time to do this surgery. This time though he needed stitches for the one incision due to how much stretching was done with the instruments. That incision looks awful. See?

If you click on the photo it will get larger, but I just want to make sure you guys see how really gross it is! So I cropped it closer. See below.
The small white piece at the bottom right of the incision is the internal stitch that has once again made its way to the surface of my stupid body. I learned my lesson LAST time in regards to pulling on things around incisions.

Okay, well if you didn't lose your lunch from the photos in this post KUDOS! I think these are all the gross ones for a while. Unless Josh gets those other ones scanned in and then I'll post those too. Lol.

*hugs and kisses*


First post surgery 3 follow up

I planned ahead for my Thursday morning appointment and had showered the night before. Glad I did. It gave me time to put some makeup on and do my hair. I figured I might as well as least try to look cute while feeling miserable.

Cute see?

Well I thought I looked cute. We also did some pictures of the not so cute parts of me.
and a close up

Okay, I realize nothing looks bad. But people, please realize that all the work was done on the INSIDE. Stitches, cutting out scar tissue, yanking things, moving things, stitching more things, adding human tissue to reinforce things. Ugh. My stomach is also a big bloated, swollen mess of mush.

And you know where my almost biggest pain is from? My shoulders. They pumped so much air into my body so they could work, and it was in there for so long, that it is trapped and causing a lot of pain. Ouch and boo.

When we set off for the doctor's office I was only in a little pain, but the car ride really did me in. I couldn't even stand to check myself in and Josh had to do it for me. Got back to the room and it was the really nice nurse. Dr. Prats came in soon and we started talking. About 3 seconds into our talk I started crying. Oh god. I HATE crying in front of people. And I HATE that it probably made him feel bad.

I was just in SO MUCH PAIN. All that frustration led me to cry more and both the doctor and nurse were super sympathetic. I am very thankful they weren't upset with me. I was prescribed more pain medication - this time vicodin - told to come back in three weeks and to just take my time and heal. No rush, I needed to take my time and it was okay that I wasn't bouncing back immediately. This surgery was very intense with more work than anticipated.

My mom had told me all this the day before, but it made me feel better to hear it from the doctor. I know I know. Sorry mom.

After the appointment, Josh took me home, got me all situated (can I seriously nominate him for husband of the century??) and went back to work. We agreed I'd be okay with the rest of the percoset until he got home from work. I got so bored and frustrated and keyed up yesterday I asked Josh if I could go to Target with him to get my prescription when he got home from work.

This is where my story turns kind of funny and really really gross. It made my mom laugh hysterically, but I am an even better in person story teller than on here. So you're only getting half the funniness.

Seriously, really really gross. Continue reading at your own risk. I've warned you.

Josh told me it would be too much for me to be at Target. I didn't listen.

So we get to Target and Josh goes to make a return while I lean on a cart and make my way back to the pharmacy. Josh beat me there. Even with a return *sigh*.

I sit on the bench while Josh puts in my prescription and they told us 20-25 minutes. We then worked our way back to the men's clothing section so Josh can find a new pair of wind pants. He wanted to try them on so I found a bench in the shoe section and flopped. Now Josh had told me he didn't bring his cell phone so don't go anywhere.

After about two minutes of sitting there I HAVE to go. Like I have to poop. And it has to happen RIGHT NOW. I try as hard as I can not to poop my pants and then Josh shows up. I tell him what is going on and that we have to go RIGHT NOW. The bathroom is at the front of the store. I am at the back. I'm in pain, not as mobile, I have trouble breathing and I have to POOP. That bathroom was MILLIONS OF MILES AWAY.

We start out to the bathroom and Josh is all "are you okay? You are kinda of pale, sweaty and have goosebumps." I was like "it's because I HAVE TO GO."

I think I almost sprinted the last little bit, but I MADE IT!

And how amazing was it that the bathroom was free of all people? I think I heard angels sing. But I'm not sure because of the awful pooping I was doing. I have been taking miraLAX, colace and benefiber to keep things moving so I don't have any issues with all this abdominal work. For some reason Target has this effect that I always feel like I have to poop. Well apparently that combined with the above cocktail - well let's all have a silent moment for that toilet.

I feel as though although it was horrible and disgusting and all of that, that I lucked out because the bathroom had no one else in it. Just as I'm about to clean up, someone comes in. Oh god. Oh no. I am slightly weak from terrible parting of my last few meals and my body. I KNOW it smells. Oh god, I am THAT person that smells up the bathroom. I can't leave. So I figure I'll let unknown person (who I will most likely never see again, so why DO I care, but I do!) pee quick, wash their hands and leave. Nothing worse than facing the person who you almost gassed to death at the sinks.

So I am waiting and then... girlfriend in the stall two down STARTS POOPING. OMG. So then there is the debate: do I wipe my ass, run to the sinks, wash my hands and hope she doesn't meet me out there - do I wait her out and hope her smell isn't worse than mine since I am not allowed to gag or cough - do I wipe my ass, go to the sinks and give her a nod if she meets me there? Do not laugh. If you are not a woman, or not a woman who has ever disgraced the "all ladies smell like roses and don't poop" then you just won't understand this dilemma.

I waited her out. I snuck out as soon as she was gone, washed my hands and departed the bathroom.

Josh asked how it was in there. I told him I just had to sit down.

My prescription was done, we paid and left.

I had to go home and lay down.

That was my most exciting day since surgery. Seriously. Super exciting.

Today I have done nothing. I've walked around the house a few times. I needed to do nothing today.

Tomorrow is a new day. I think I'll have less pain tomorrow. That's my plan.

*hugs and kisses*


What are you allergic to?

Some people are allergic to food. Others to the outdoors. Dust, bugs, cheese, latex, wool, certain drugs, other drugs, etc etc. I have one drug allergy. I also have an allergy to the latex free gloves. The latex ones are fine - go figure. I have a lot of skin irritations too. Thanks for that one mom!! Sensitive skin ROCKS!

Recently I've had an ever growing sensitivity to adhesive. Yes you read that right, adhesive. Like the stuff that helps things stick to you so you can heal. AWESOME.

When I had my arm gouged by the dermatologist I was told to put a band aid on after with Vaseline. After like a day I was itching my band aid like crazy. When i took it off it the area was red, swollen, and there were tiny tears in in skin. THAT hurt more than where the stitches.

So when I had surgery last friday that put on steri strips and then band aids. I HAD to take them off after like a day. Red, irritated and itchy again. I tried putting on other band aids because there was still some bleeding and seeping. No go. One day later I took them off and found this.
Can you see right where the band aid was stuck? Want a close up? It's really nasty gross!!
Do you see those two red areas on the edge of the leftover sticky?
That is where the skin was RIPPED OFF. Seriously.

Yes that hurt a lot. I think this was like time number 83 I'd cried since Friday. At least it felt that way. Blech.

This is the surgery I just can't seem to catch a break with. Recovery is still going rather rough. I'll update tomorrow hopefully all about today. It's a doozy!!

*hugs and kisses*


Day after surgery #3 post

Because apparently the medicine REALLY went to my brain. I was typing and then kind of just stopped and wrapped up. Even though I hadn't actually wrapped up. I was MID story. WOW.

So where was I? Josh was there, Dr. Prats stopped in...
He gave me the information about the weight loss, the exercise, the coughing etc. Oh right. He then asked if I had my upper GI. I had not. He said he would ask around and see what could be done. About 30 mins later the guy with the wheel chair shows up and IT'S THE SAME WEIRDO FROM LAST YEAR!! Seriously!

He takes me down and the ride was bumpy and I was nauseous. Then I had to wait for them to be ready ready for me. I should have taken my iPhone.

The girl comes and gets me and tells me I have to drink the gastrografin. BUT, this time it was mixed with barium and it wasn't NEARLY as bad. I ended up with the same doctor as last year, but he was MUCH nicer this time. He really felt bad for me when I explained all the stitches, the fact I was there last year and this was a reoccurring issue. That worked out well for me.

The test was much quicker this year, all looked good and I had no leaks.

When I got back to my room I was told it would still be a while until I was released. I was in a ton of pain, so I requested more morphine. My mom decided to run to our house and shower and while she was gone they came back and were like "ok, you are ready to go!" So Josh helped give me a little birdie bath, got me dressed, I signed the paperwork and I was finally out the door.

Getting back to the house is a blur. I know the car ride was painful hitting the bumps. I know mom answered the door to our house. I know I was set up on the couch. I think I slept a lot. I know I cried from the pain. I know I slept more and I know mom and Josh were a little worried about me. I also know Josh had beautiful flowers waiting for me!

Kandice and Jason stopped by with some awesome goodies. I was in no state for company, so I didn't see them. Sorry guys! They brought me some cookies and cream ice cream, fudgepops and juicebars. They also brought FLOWERS!

I took my percocet every 4 hours faithfully, drank juice and slept a lot. Mom stayed an extra night even because I was doing really bad.

We got up on Sunday morning and mom left early. Everything is kind of a blur though. Lots of pain, lots of drugs. Unfortunately the drugs didn't completely eliminate the pain. They take the edge off, but not a lot. They also make it hard to think and focus. Ugh.

Speaking for forgetting things. I ALSO forgot to mention the book my friends Nina and Greg sent me that I got on Thursday night!
I will read it soon!!

More thanks to everyone! I am going to try to get this completely up to date before the end of the week! We will see.

Doctor follow up tomorrow.

*hugs and kisses*

All about surgery day.

But, I like to talk about everything - so we will start with the night before. My mom came down the night before since we weren't exactly sure when surgery was. I found out a little after 3 that surgery wasn't until 12, but mom had already left at 3 so... yeah.

Anyways... we went shopping at Border's first. The lady at the register mentioned this book that was supposed to be so AWESOME and it was right there on the counter. She mentioned it because I had a Stephen King book and a Dean Koontz book. It was called A Reliable Wife. I am not usually gullible, but I was intrigued. Thank goodness Mom was there to pick up the tab.

I didn't read the book, but apparently it isn't ANYTHING like I would like. It's more of a historical romance with a murder twist. Oh UGH. And NOW we are majorly off topic.

So Border's first and then we headed to GinMya in York. While Josh, Mom and I were on our way, Kandice called that she had gotten out of work early, so she met us there.

Sushi is a GREAT meal before surgery. Seriously.

I slept relatively well that night and even got to sleep in the next morning! I had to be at the hospital at 10:30. I was nervous, but mom and I did a little photo shoot.

Me and my mom!
Just me - all ready to go!

When we got to the hospital they didn't even have a bed for me, so we ended up waiting in the SUPER crowded waiting room. It was only like 10-15 minutes but it was enough.

A cool new feature in the waiting room though was patient tracking! There was an LCD mounted to the wall that had the case number that was assigned to each patient and let you know when they were in surgery, in recovery, etc. I didn't get to really enjoy it, but it was nice for mom and Josh.

So I finally got my bed. It was the same as before. Strip naked, put on the gown and socks and wait to answer lots of questions.

Here I am! Waiting somewhat impatiently.

So questions were answered, arm bands were put on. And then it happened. Again. WHY CAN'T THEY EVER FIND A VEIN! The first lady dug, and dug, and dug until I started getting tears and begged her to stop.

Mom and Josh then noticed my savior nurse from last time who was able to stick me last time in the hall. She came in, took about 2 minutes, prepped the area and got it first shot. THANK YOU GOD!

Dr. Prats came in and told us that tactics were being switched around. No more Strattice (pig tissue). Another material came out in between my scheduling appointment and my surgery. It was called AlloMax (not to be confused with the non-working AlloDerm). It was human tissue. He said the rep was there even and had delivered it to be used. If he liked the way it worked that is what would be implanted. If not, he did have the Strattice too that he could fall back on. Okay, game plan was set. Let's get sliced and diced!

It felt like I waited forever, but then I was being wheeled back to the OR. I got back there, I think they talked to me.

Then I was waking up in recovery. I couldn't talk really. And the woman next to me was SCREAMING about something. I just kept smiling at the nurses (which probably looked crazy scary as I am sure it was more like a sneer than a real smile). Unfortunately screaming lady took everyones attention and I was left to attempt to smile my creepy smile in the nurse's direction in between falling asleep. It seemed like I was there for a while. I don't know.

Then I was being wheeled into my room. I saw mom and Josh and they hugged and kissed me. I asked what time it was and it was after 6!! WHAT?? Did it take me that long in recovery? What was going on?

Well apparently the surgery did not go as planned. At all. Here is what went down. Dr. Prats got in there and tried pulling my stomach out of my chest and back into my abdomen. It wouldn't stay down. After cutting away a lot of scar tissue and eventually taking my stomach into my abdominal wall with three stitches it was down. That took two hours. That is not good.

He went on to close up my hernia with 5 stitches (he used one before - 2 is usually the max). Then he broke out the AlloMax, liked it, and went on to place that around the former hernia. That was then all placed and tacked down with more stitches.

So the 2-3 hour surgery was a 6 hour surgery and that was why the recovery room was so much rougher!

Then I ask if someone can please get me some water or ice chips because the tube down my throat had irritated it. Nope. Not until after my upper GI the next morning. SERIOUSLY?? Jerks. I ended up suffering all night with nothing really to quench my thirst. The nurses were MUCH nicer this time and kept bringing my zofran and toradol. I even got a morphine helper when it wasn't time to toradol yet.

The night was uncomfortable and unpleasant, but I made it through. 8AM Josh got there. 9AM Dr. Prats showed up (he had said he would be there at 9AM) and explained the surgery to me. How much rougher it was than he had planned on. That now I had to start walking to get the blood flowing and get things healed up.

I am not allowed to gain any weight. I am not allowed to lift anything over 10 lbs. I am not allowed to cough (yes, seriously). I am not allowed to get into a car accident. I can however eat small portions, take lots of stool softeners and laxatives, and walk as much as I can so that I can get to 0.5 miles before I see him Thursday.

Wish me luck! If I remember anything else (which could happen because these pain meds are messing with my memory) I'll make another post.

*hugs and kisses*


These are just two of my favorite things...

Materialistically speaking of course because today is not a sappy day.

But seriously, I don't know how I made it through my first two surgeries without these two things. Let me make my introductions. This photo showcases both of my favorite things. TOGETHER!

Oh yes. That is a bright orange fluffy snuggie. Home made by my mom. And what is that I'm holding?? Why it's my iPhone - in it's brandsie new orange case.
I took a second photo without flash to show you... my screen saver on my phone is me wearing my orange snuggie. Lol. I crack myself up.

So why are these my two favorite things? Well the snuggie has kept me warm and comfortable while laying for hours on the couch. Its convenient sleeves allow me to have my hands free while still staying snuggly warm. It's also loose enough to not bother my incision sites and has room for my heating pad for my shoulder. Some people may mock the snuggie, but I am now a true convert.

Secondly is my fabulous phone. It has kept me connected to friends and family through all this. I can read email, check facebook, send messages and play games. It isn't heavy like my laptop, so I can pick it up and move it around with me. AWESOME! And it wasn't so overwhelming in the hospital when I was all loopy.

My mom asked me while she was here what I'd named my phone and I was like "idk." Ok, not really. First I said "my precious" which cracked Josh and I up, but mom hadn't seen LOTR and so she didn't get it really. Now that's all I've been thinking about. I might stick with "my precious" though. Or maybe "mip" for short (melissa's iphone / melissa's iphone precious). Do you see what pain killers do to me? I'm going crazy I think. I mean crazier.

It is day 3 post op and I am still miserable. My body aches, my shoulders hurt, my incisions itch and are painful this time. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to walk, it hurts to sit. I still can't really get myself up from a sitting position. I have been taking the percocets every 4 hours with no real relief, just some of the edge off the pain is diminished.

I am okay, and I know I will get better, but until that happens I keep trying to look at the bright side of things while discussing my misery. I will be an optimist and in a year when I look back on this post I will forget how really bad it was. I reread some of my posts from last year after my first surgery and I was like "really? I don't remember being like that at all!" Ha. See. I'm forgetful which is a good thing.

That's all for today.

*hugs and kisses*


Details later, but I just needed to say

Friends and family are the best.

I survived surgery although it was really rough. My mom stayed up with me all night in the hospital. She brought me another orange snuggie!, chocolate covered raisins for when I start eating more and some books and magazines.

My friend Nina (and her husband Greg) sent me a super cute card and a book.

Kandice and Jason stopped by yesterday with a bag full of goodies (fudge pops, cookies and cream ice cream and juice bars) and some awesome flowers.

Doug and Lisa stopped today and dropped off a coloring book (Yay!), flowers and a card.

Josh also had flowers waiting for me when I got home.

A BUNCH of other friends have texted, emailed and facebooked me so many good wishes it makes me feel warm and snuggly.

I may feel awful and have been sleeping non-stop really (and when I'm not sleeping I'm drugged up, so you are lucky this is all coherent), but all the love and support makes things just a little easier.


*hugs and kisses*


The night before surgery

and all tucked into bed
all the creatures were sleeping
well unless you count my head

Yes that was totally lame. It is 11:30pm and I have surgery in about 12 hours. I am scheduled to be at the hospital at 10:30am.

I am more nervous than I was for the last two combined.

Thankfully I have an amazing support system of family and friends to help get me through this.

No naming names though because it is late I am all wigged out and exhausted but I can't sleep. That would lead to missed people which would lead to hurt feelings which would lead to bad karma and I need all the good juju I can get.

I will try to update tomorrow after surgery. Josh will be texting those whose phone numbers we have. He should also have time to update both of our facebooks.

Thank you for all the support. It means more to me than I can ever express.

Ugh. I feel like I am way over planning for the worst. Not a good feeling.

Wish me luck dear blog readers and send any extra good thoughts you have this way.

*hugs and kisses*


I'm now sad Christmas is over.

No more presents for a while. *le sigh* Maybe if I'm good I'll get something for Valentine's day! Until then let's recap Christmas shall we?

I think we need the abridged version.

Thankfully I DID update about my excision and the stitches I got. So on to the whirlwind Christmas.

Here were some prep pictures.
In my wrapping room.
Some of the finished products.

Christmas Eve day we decided to clean up the house and buy a dishwasher.

Did you read that right? Yep, we decided to buy a dishwasher. From Craigslist. In MD. So instead of cleaning and the like for Christmas Eve dinner we were having for Josh's family, we were driving to MD to pick up a dishwasher.

Now there is nothing WRONG with our old dishwasher. It runs fine. It cleans dishes. Anyone want to buy it? I have photos!!

Anyways, we wanted a new one for the large bike water bottles. Yes you read that right. JUST for BIKE BOTTLES. Otherwise they sat in the sink (or on the counter or in a bag somewhere) until Josh decided to clean them (because we would have to hand wash them) and then there was the mold. Okay, this is not the abridged version huh?

Found dishwasher. On craigslist. Retail $850. Never used (floor model in a showroom, but never installed). In MD. Purchased for $200. YAY!!
Looks... like a dishwasher huh? But that left area fits WATER BOTTLES.
Unless you are a cyclist or married to one... you just wouldn't understand.

Stopped at a WALMART on our way home (on CHRISTMAS EVE - ugh). Installation went smoothly (go Josh!). Was done in time for Christmas Eve dinner.

Before everyone got there I got one of my Christmas presents. A NEW lens for Nik!! It was the 35mm f/1.8. I didn't take a photo of it, but I let it take LOTS of photos for me. It wasn't really a christmas present since we had saved the money for it, but I didn't want to spend the money, so Josh did it for me. Good husband. :-)

Josh's family came over. We ate BBQ (his family tradition - but Josh made my mom's recipe) and then opened presents. Josh was our Santa.

After this we went to his grandparent's church for Christmas Eve service. His grandfather is the music director and his grandmother sings in the choir. They probably won't be doing this much longer (they no longer live in our city and have to commute) so it could have been the last one. They were surprised. I think it was a good surprise. Who knows.

THEN WE HEARD THE TRAIN WHISTLE. There is a story about this whistle. Apparently when Josh was little he was so excited to hear it (he grew up in this area until grade school) that he ran, slipped and fell cracking his head open.

He hadn't heard it since then (we'd never in our hometown on Christmas Eve).

So we hear it and... huh what? THAT was the much anticipated train whistle? If you have seen Finding Nemo when Dory calls the whales, well that is what it sounded like. If Dory was dying. And speaking gibberish. It was BAD. We spoke in whale speak the whole way home!

So home. Pack up. Open presents to each other and then at 1AM we left for my parent's house. Why? It was supposed to sleet and freezing rain with terrible driving conditions. We arrived at 3AM. I drove. Josh slept. Jerk.

Oh. And see this gift. Notice there are two? We got the SAME gift for each other. So weird. Lol.


So up at 6AM, presents opened by 7AM, back to bed until 9AM and then up again.

Family time. Family photos (see).

Dinner at Aunt and Uncle's house. Relax - sort of. Sleep. Up again. Drive. Christmas again at Josh's Aunt and Uncle's house. More photos. Home. Sleep. Up again. Prep. Christmas for 17 at OUR HOUSE. This is how we fit 17 people in our kitchen/dining area.

I realized I petered out there at the end. I am not sad Christmas is over anymore. I got tired just typing it all out again. Lol. This was a photo from the first night. Maybe I just KNEW.
(and doesn't my hair look so SHINY and AWESOME?)

So that was Christmas. All four crazy days of it. Oh, and the materialistic side of me wants to show you part of our take this year.

I think next year we might want to go on vacation during Christmas. Just maybe.

Ending on a fun note. I totally loved our Christmas tree this year.

*hugs and kisses*


One week. Again.

Sometimes I feel like my entire life is a series of countdowns.

Countdowns until the next birthday, Christmas, a weekend with friends, weddings, anniversaries, a new big purchase, etc, etc.

I am a numbers person, so countdowns make me feel better. Most of the time. The unexciting countdowns just kind of put a damper of things though. First I was counting down until Christmas - yay! Then I counted down until the New Year - yay! Then I counted down until my surgery scheduling doctor appointment - not so yay. I was also counting down until the day AFTER that appointment to have my stitches removed - not so yay, but kind of yay because they were annoying me.

Now is the countdown to my quickly scheduled surgery - hm. Last year this time I was counting down to surgery as well, but that was more exciting.

I am having SUCH a hard time this time around. *kicks rocks*

I guess I can look at the bright side and say that for about two weeks post surgery I will be enjoying myself watching TV, reading books and interneting since I am couch bound per the doctors orders. DOCTORS ORDERS. I am not being lazy, I am just sticking to my New Year resolutions.

Maybe the new year IS bringing good things. *smirks*

*hugs and kisses*


Next Friday I will be...

at the hospital. Surgery is scheduled for next Friday January 15th at time TBD.

The information is Dr. P will be doing laproscopic recurrent paraesophageal hernia repair. He will be using the same incision sites as before (yay no new scars!) and it will be another overnight hospital stay. Barium test the next morning.

He won't know what he's getting into until he's in there. It could be that the stitches ripped out and didn't heal correctly or it could be that my diaphragm muscle is just way too weak. This will help him determine if he will use a product called Strattice which is pig parts or there is the possibility of him using Goretex. There are pros and cons to each, and I am leaving the decision up to him.

Apparently he has some research to do for next Friday, but I think we mostly agreed on the Strattice unless something is really different from what we expect.

I'm a little - I don't know - anxious? My last surgery I couldn't schedule for 3 months. This one was scheduled in a week. My last one I was sick and miserable for, this one I have NO symptoms really.

If this doesn't work (PLEASE let it work) I will be shipped to Hopkins to get some attention from a specialist. I know a lot of people would want to go straight to the specialist, but I am weird. My brain doesn't work like that. If I GO to a specialist then this is a MAJOR problem. If I just get it fixed, it's fine.

So ummmm. Yeah. That's that.

On to my awesome night last night (because this post needs a pick me up!). First the wonderful husband (he puts up with SO much from me) and I went to AC Moore to pick up a foam ring and pins. What for? Oh, that post is coming.

Then we headed to Target to pick up a few items. Next to Kohl's to make some returns. After that we went into the mall. I exchanged some items and then headed to AE. I had a sweater my mom got me to return and some underwear.

While trying to find something to exchange the sweater for I found this.
Now before we even left home tonight I whined to Josh that I don't have a NICE winter coat. I have two performance jackets, a very old fleece TNF jacket, and a couple of cheap men's old navy jackets. Yeah. Bleh.

So I found the jacket above, in my size on the rack. I tried it on and FELL IN LOVE. Problem? The price. $149.95. I asked the girl working if she could double check the price for me. She rang it through and YAY $59.95 AND I had a $10 off coupon. Then she mentions if I spend $0.05 then I could use my other $10 off coupon. I send Josh over to find a button down shirt for him
He finds this for $24.95.

So the girl returns my sweater, rings up the coat and shirt. Takes 2 $10 coupons off. I give her an old gift card for $21.21 and another one for $25.

Grand total for this transaction is... $0.55. Yes seriously. And to make things even better they only had ONE of that coat in the store. Why? Because it wasn't stocked in our store and this jacket was a return. Want to know an even better? That jacket is on sale online for $89.95 ($30 more than I paid for it!) and Josh's was $29.95 ($5 more).

It takes so little to make me happy.

I also got an ORANGE silicone iPhone cover. Photos to come of that.

I needed to brag about that to counter the upcoming surgery stuff. *whew* I feel better.

*hugs and kisses*

Surgery Number Three...

is TBD. Lol. I see the doctor in an hour.

In the meantime I bought an awesome navy peacoat last night, an orange iPhone cover and did all my Christmas returns.

Details later about that too.

*hugs and kisses*


Our updated house projects in 2010

We have a fantastically tiled entryway at our house (Josh is a MASTER tiler now - or something). Problem? It still needed a rug of some sorts. Otherwise everything got tracked up the stairs. Ew. So after over a YEAR of searching we came up with a new idea after not finding the right size, colors, availability or price.

FLOR tiles. Josh doesn't usually get my visions, so I have to map them out quite specifically. When I found out Lowe's carried the FLOR carpet tiles I drug Josh there to show him. He agreed it would probably work. We figured out how many we would need and placed the order. Unfortunately they take almost two weeks to come in (boo) so we didn't have them in time to host our multiple Christmases here.

Josh picked them up on Wednesday and we "installed" them on Friday morning. More iPhone photos so don't critique them too terribly.
This was the first configuration we contemplated.
It was okay, but a little too expected for me. So we switched it up to this.
Ignore Josh's foot at the bottom. Lol. My mom said the other configuration was better, but I like this one. If you look at it walking in the front door, it looks like a big "C" which is our last name letter! It's subtle, but I thought it was cute. I am SUCH a dork.

So total cost for this little project was about $65 for a 80"x40" (6.5' x 3.5' ish) rug. Not bad!

We may get two more tiles for a little rug in front of the garage door. Hmmm.

So then SATURDAY we started another of my hair brained projects. I wanted shelves in the kitchen above our island thingy. The color is WAY off on the walls, but you get the idea.
Here is Josh hard at work on my vision.
And the final results!

I LOVE them. Before all those wine bottles sat on top of that island and so if you wanted it as a work space you either had to move everything, or it got all messy. The glasses took up tons of space in our cabinets that I wanted for other stuff. It also looks neat and clean (well for now).

Total cost for this project - $50
2 shelves at Lowe's - $8 each
3 - 2 packs of brackets at Lowe's - $8 each
2 wine bottle holders from Ikea (I found them in the CLEARANCE section) - $1 each
2 wine glass holders from Ikea (ALSO in the CLEARANCE section) - $1 each
1 can of spray paint to turn the white wine glass holders into silver to match - $4
2 packs of screws - $1 each

So far our house is becoming more homey. After never really doing much in all of our apartments that we lived in, all these projects make this place feel more and more like ours. I love it. *smile*

Up next is some frame painting I'm working on (I got them super cheap on clearance at target, but they were white and banged up). We also have the hallway from the 2nd to 3rd floor to paint and all the bedrooms and bathrooms. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

*hugs and kisses*


How many can I break?

I finally outlined my list of resolutions and goals for 2010. I don't know if I've ever really WROTE them down anywhere before. They are securely on my iPhone and now they will be on the internet for the world to hold me accountable and laugh when I break one within the first week.

Good thing I didn't add "be friendlier" to the list. Poor Josh.

Moving on.

1. Start listening to doctors orders.
[ The doctor told me after my first surgery - don't lift. My second surgery - don't lift. I helped Josh move a 300lb desk. I then helped his parents move. Hmmmm. Yeah. Oh, and my mole removal stitches I ripped out? *sigh* LISTEN BETTER!]

2. TRY to be less stubborn
[ This pertains to the first one, but expounds upon it more. I am stubborn. In all aspects of my life. I need to work on this. ]

3. FINISH projects
[ You know like our wedding scrapbook from 4 years ago this July. Or maybe those super cheap frames I bought to repaint and never did. Or that scarf I almost finished. I have lots of this stuff that needs done. ]

4. Spend less time on the internet to curb boredom. DO SOMETHING.
[ See how this can easily and neatly relate to number three? ]

5. Blog more
[ I think I'm doing ok, but some months I had sub 10 posts. We do A LOT, I want to keep track of it better so I can hopefully keep better perspective in 2010. ]

6. Take more photos
[ I photograph a lot now, but looking back, there is a lot I feel I missed. I need to start carrying my point and shoot around EVERYWHERE again and keeping the DSLR downstairs so I can grab it and go.]

7. Try one new recipe a month
[ I get stuck in a rut. I find something I like to make and make it a lot. We used to experiment more and just don't. This needs to change. ]

8. Find a full time job
[ I LOVE my job currently, but I would like to bring home more bacon. Boo to this prospect.]

9. Spend more time with friends and family
[ We always have plans to see people and it's always "well, we'll figure something out soon!" As soon as surgery is scheduled I am breaking out the calendar and a LOT of people are getting phone calls, texts and emails. Planning will commence!]

10. Declutter one target bag worth of stuff per month.
[ We have a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house with ample finished space and lots of unfinished storage space. And no room. Ugh. You know those projects I want to finish? If any are unfinished by December 2010 they are getting the boot. ]

So I don't think I have anything too lofty on here. Some practical, some home related, some lifestyle related, that pesky personality related one. A good mix I would say. Now notice there are no "lose 20 lbs in 2010!" on here. Ummm, that's just not my style.

Here is to a new year and a fresh start.

Expect lots more posts to come!

*hugs and kiss*


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